Human Rights Watch today criticised the Sri Lankan government's failure to enact pledges to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act, releasing a 46 page report on ongoing and past abuses of detainees under the legislation.
“The Sri Lankan government has been all talk and no action on repealing the reviled PTA,” HRW's Asia director, Brad Adams said. “Replacing this draconian counterterrorism law with one that meets international standards should be an urgent priority if the government is serious about protecting human rights.”
The report, 'Locked Up Without Evidence: Abuses under Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act,' draws on interviews with former detainees, family members, and lawyers working on PTA cases. The report highlighted that at least 11 people were arrested under the PTA in 2016 for alleged terrorist activities.
"Human Rights Watch found that the PTA is a significant contributing factor toward the persistence of torture in Sri Lanka.
"The PTA allows arrests without warrant for unspecified “unlawful activities,” and permits detention for up to 18 months without producing the suspect before a court. Human Rights Watch has received several reports of people detained for a decade or more without access to legal recourse, who were subsequently acquitted or released without charge, yet received no compensation, reparations, or apologies from the government. Government figures released in July 2017 indicate that 70 prisoners have been held in pretrial detention under the PTA for more than five years, and 12 for over 10 years."
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